Monday, June 19, 2017

Two Cowboys: Hipster Dressing With Authentic Canadian Plaid Flannel Shirts at Rocky Mountain Flannel Company in Banff, Alberta

The Original Hipsters


When you think Canada, you yearn for cozy winter nights in front of a fireplace and softly falling snow outside the window. Inevitably, your mind's eye wanders to all that is familiar about Canadian winters. The smell of apple cider, pie in the oven, and the snug feeling of soft flannel against your skin. You know you are home. Flannel is as Canadian as the word "eh". It is as authentic as your granny's smile.

What is flannel? It is a soft woven fabric. Flannel was originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn but is now often made from either wool, cotton, or synthetic fiber. Flannel may be brushed to create extra softness (which makes it ideal for keeping warm) or remain unbrushed. Brushing is a mechanical process wherein a fine metal brush rubs the fabric to raise fine fibers from the loosely spun yarns to form a nap. Typically, flannel has a nap on either one side or both sides. If the flannel is not napped, it gains its softness through the loosely spun yarn in its woven form.

Flannel is commonly used to make tartan clothing, blankets, bed sheets, and sleepwear. The term "flannel shirt" is often used to mean any shirt with a plaid or tartan pattern.


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Flannel's origins can be traced back to 17th century Wales where farmers wore flannel shirts to protect themselves from the elements. This tradition would continue for other blue collar workers as the prevalence of flannel grew. The word "flannel" most likely comes from the Welsh word gwlanen, meaning "woolen article." 

Not many people know that the Bow Valley in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta has its very own flannel garment company. Gayle Houlton is the founder of Rocky Mountain Flannel. It is a business with a history that spans almost three decades. Her background in pattern making and design, and her extensive experience in retailing helped Gail to create a thriving little apparel jewel with a beautiful store that she recently relocated from Canmore to Banff. 

Rocky Mountain Flannel Company has flannel pajamas, nightgowns, pants and shirts and deliciously warm flannel bed sheets. Every product is researched and tested for quality, fit, wear and tear. In exchange for good honest feedback, Gayle often gives a new item to friends and family to try out and review. “Believe me, they are honest!” It is like dressing your children, she shares with us. They will tell you exactly what they like and dislike.

Observations


Garment manufacturing is not a kind of business you associate with the prairies and mountains of Canada. On the other hand, garment design, retailing and distribution are again growing in popularity. Enterprising designers are taking advantage of flexible sourcing opportunities. It allows them to address the localized needs of a discerning and increasingly demanding clientele.

Good quality fabrics can easily be sourced from all over the world. Combine this with cost effective small batch manufacturing, and it opens up opportunities for designers to craft unique items for their local markets. Clients are turning away from uniform, poor quality, lookalike, and almost disposal clothing articles in discount stores, according to Gayle. They are shifting towards higher quality, locally sourced, better designed and more comfortable fitted garments.

Call it the hipster movement if you like, and call it out for its non-conformist flannel wearing patrons. As far as we are concerned, wearing flannel is about being Canadian. It is also about supporting Gayle to make us our favorite shirts we proudly wear because they are nice! We like wearing our Rocky Mountain Flannel shirts, especially when it is cold outside.

Hendrik van Wyk
Flannel Cowboy

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Photos

Underwear?

For Grown up Hockey Players

Winter Shirts

Snuggles

For Her 

New Beginnings in Banff

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